Google Map is indeed a powerful navigation tool for many. However, the coverage in different countries also varies. In Singapore and Hong Kong, for example, the coverages are excellent and almost always accurate with a few misses. But in a larger country, like Thailand, you might wonder “does Google Maps work in Thailand?”, or how accurate is the information available? Here we will discuss our own experience doing road trips in Thailand relying heavily on Google Maps. And this is because we are noobs in exploration!
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Does Google Maps work in Thailand for direction?
If you are going by foot in Thailand, there is no issue following Google Maps. From our experience, the landmarks and the direction given are typically accurate.
However, if you drive in Bangkok or other cities in Thailand, you might want to watch out when you take the toll-way or underground tunnel. This is because the direction given may not be accurate. Sometimes you see the signs on the road telling you one thing, and Google Map navigator telling you something different. In that case, we advise you to see what are the signs on the road and follow that. Google Maps might miss out certain information especially if there are a lot of road splitting or turns around the same area.
We followed Google Maps closely when we went to Ayutthaya, Khao Yai and Hua Hin. And what we noticed is, and this is quite expected, Google Maps sometimes does not recognize smaller roads. Or, sometimes it mistaken smaller roads to be passable by any type of car. We followed Google Maps before to pass a bridge that was actually very narrow and there was no railing on the sides. We were thinking back then, what if the car that we were riding was a lot bigger/broader. Also, how unsafe it would be to follow the Google Maps without looking ahead at the road.
Does Google Maps work in Thailand for places reviews?
Both of us are avid contributors and users of Google Maps. We rely on it a lot when we are looking for restaurants, cafes, and accommodations. We would say that the reviews are very reliable. You can trust the ratings given on Google Maps, but always ensure you read through a number of reviews before trusting it.
There has been very few disappointing occasions where we visit places with 100+ reviews and average rating of 4.2+, so in general we tend to rely on Google map review quite a bit.
As an example, we visited Ayutthaya retreat which had over 1,000+ reviews and the average rating of 4.3, and the place did not disappoint!
Make use of Google streetview
Google street view can make your road trip in Thailand easier whether it would be to explore the road ahead of time or to check on store-front ahead of your visit.
Explore the road: streets in Thailand can be complicated, sometimes there are forking, highway, underground way, round about, bridge etc. Google street view can help you to check the road ahead of time so nothing catches you by surprise.
Check out the store front: Thailand is known for its street food, small vendors or local market. Sometimes the famous “restaurant” that your friend/the internet recommend to you may be on street side or a hole-in-the-wall shop. Checking the store front ahead of time can help you locate the shop once you arrive in that area
What to look out for when using Google Maps in Thailand?
As mentioned before, small streets may not be accurately captured by Google Maps, especially small streets in cities outside Bangkok. Also, the Google Maps navigator might give wrong info sometimes (but this is rare to happen) when you are on the road. Hence, we advise you to always keep your eyes on the road and when you are in doubt with what Google Maps tells you, trust yourself and proceed slowly. In terms of finding places on Google Maps to see their reviews, the most important thing is to also have their address with you. There might be places with the same name and you might risk going to a wrong place if you cannot cross check with the actual address you are planning to go to. We had this issue when we were trying to find our hotel in Ayutthaya.
If you are solo-driving, we recommend buying a phone holder that you can attach to your car dashboard. This way, you can easily refer to Google Maps when driving without taking your eyes away from the road for too long. Also, if you have a companion in your car, ask that person to be your navigator and alert you on what’s coming so that you can still focus on the road.
Also, ensure your phone is fully charged and also you have strong internet. In places where internet can be a bit patchy, you should also expect the Google Map GPS working a bit less efficiently – as this is expected.
Can you rely on Google Maps in Thailand?
Despite a few minor hiccups, Google Maps Thailand is very reliable. We are novice in terms of doing road trips and Google Maps was our best companion throughout our trips.
Keep in mind that it is a technology that is supposed to help us navigate the road, but it is not always perfect. It is not 100% accurate and you should not panic it gives you inaccurate info/direction during your trip. You can always detour and get to your destination eventually. Google Maps will automatically adjust the direction when it notices that you are not following the original plan. It will let you know an alternative way to get to your destination based on your current location.
Also, our last tip is if you are going to a totally unfamiliar place, spend some time reading the map the night before. It will help you to visualize the road and will help you to feel less nervous exploring the unchartered territory!
Happy driving & road tripping!
Learn more about Thailand with us!
- Ari, Bangkok in Thailand: Review of the Ari area
- Ayutthaya hotel: Sala Ayutthaya hotel with river view
- Hua Hin hotels: boutique and hotels with private pools
- Khao Yai boutique hotels: accommodation, camping & villa
- Is Bali in Thailand? Learn about similarities and differences
- Taiwan vs Thailand: differences and similarities
- Tuk Tuk Thailand: try the Three-Wheeler transport